We received some cute little fennel bulbs in our CSA box last week and although they were cute to look at, I wondered what I would use such small fennel bulbs for? Cooking them was out of the question since they reduce so much that these small bulbs would just disappear into nothingness. Sliced up raw in a salad was another possibility. But sorting the veggies that night made me look at the fennel and rhubarb together and think, "Why not?"
So I stewed them a bit to soften up the fennel and tougher bits of rhubarb and also to gauge the amount of sugar I would need. I lightly sweetened the rhubarb and fennel so as not to lost the nice anise flavour and added a handful of flour to thicken it up.
Nothing sells fruit like a pie... and nothing beats a pie small enough to fit in one hand. I used a pate brisee and I have a 3-inch ring that I use for hand pies (cuz I make a lot) but obviously you could make them with puff pastry and cut them out turnover style or whatever strikes your fancy.
The filling is a little messy and I wanted to pack my pies really, really full - so I filled, sandwiched and pinched shut each pie in my cupped palm in order to minimize the mess and maximize the filling.
They came out just right and my son liked them so much he called them apple-cookie sandwiches... lol.
Rhubarb and Fennel Hand Pies Yield: Seven 3-inch hand pies
165g (~1/2 cup) butter
255g (~1 cup) flour
70-75g (~1/4 cup) water
- Cut together butter and flour until the butter chunks are about pea-sized.
- Stir water in gently with a fork. Add small amounts of water as necessary to bring dough together. The dough is ready when it sticks together when you pinch together a small amount.
- Gather dough into a ball, cover with a wet cloth and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Rhubarb and Fennel Filling
3/4 cup thinly sliced fennel
2 cups chopped rhubarb
45g (~1/4 cup) sugar
45g (~1/3 cup) flour
- Heat fennel, rhubarb and sugar in a small saucepan with just enough water to prevent burning.
- Cook until the fennel is soft and the rhubarb has started to break down slightly.
- Remove from heat and stir in flour.
Fill liberally and pinch seams closed. Cut vents into pie tops.
Bake in a preheated 400F oven for 40 minutes or until the filling has started bubbling out of the vents.